ACHTUNG! DesignCities: Berlin

DesignInquiry‘s second stop on a worldwide design expedition.

In collaboration with the Design Research Lab in Berlin.

In 2006, Berlin, Germany was designated by UNESCO as the first European City Of Design. From a damaged city, Berlin has evolved into a multi-faceted melting-pot, with all its clashes and conflicts, new beginnings and fresh perspectives. It is unique in its ability to adapt to difficulties and experiment with the given. The radical changes within the city are visible everywhere you go and its constant flux draws artists and designers from all over the world, inviting them to experiment with it and create something new, fill the empty spaces. Berlin is becoming more and more a city of design participation, grassroots activism and DIY-initiatives. Berlin design seldom fits a fixed category of design but rather defines itself in-between disciplines drawing from the international influence and diverse backgrounds of its protagonists. It is a place where new tendencies in design are taken up very quickly, although they might not have been initiated here. Seemingly disparate ideas and approaches get entangled and (re-)mixed into something new.

In this spirit we invite you to participate in an experimental week to investigate and explore the design city, collaborate with its designers and develop and exchange ideas with international colleagues and friends.

Questions & Starting Points

· What makes a ”City of Design” more relevant or significant than any other similarly vibrant location?

· Does the design community really sustain the myth of the so-called ”poor but sexy” city of Berlin.

· Do the political and societal changes have any influence on the way people here approach design and the city?

· Where and how do playing fields/locations for participation of citizens come into being?

· Can we emphasize the dialog by adding something or taking something away?

The notion that design practice, and the presence of designers, can alter the trajectory of a city for the better is an assumption that beseeches exploration and testing. Meeting Berlin‘s flora and fauna, getting used to its habits and communicating with its inhabitants will be the core of DesignInquiry-slash-Berlin. We are there as designers, artists, makers, exploring this design town.


DesignCity:Berlin participants will explore these questions in workshops, excursions and discussions. For 6 days you will live, work and cook together in a venue in central Berlin.


This experimental gathering serves as a multi-disciplinary forum and invites participants of diverse disciplines interested in design. Fields of interest can be performance, installation, interaction, drawing, music, philosophy, geography, architecture, gastronomy, walking, talking, etc.

DesignCities: Berlin is organized by representatives from DesignInquiry and the Design Research Lab.


WHEN: August 6th – 11th 2012

COSTS: $725 USD registration fee (includes housing) + 100 Euro (when you arrive) for food


APPLY to attend DesignCity:Berlin August 6th – 11th 2012

DesignInquiry shares the outcomes of its theme-based gatherings to inform and inspire design practice across disciplines. We also welcome experiments, visual-and textual, works-in-process, finished essays, lost pages, work-you-never-did-anything-with, or undiscovered gems. DesignInquiry is a collaborative laboratory, a place to test ideas and present research. Contributions are invited on all DI topics, past and present and future. A participatory peer-review process vets all submissions in an editorial feedback loop. Send your proposal to New contributions are added to our WORK in February and September.

Contact us at and we will send you a questionnaire in which you may propose anything you think is appropriate to to inform/to question/to develop/to inspire the selected topic. Thoughts, ideas, experiences and observations will ideally become the starting point for a contribution to DesignCity:Berlin gathering and subsequent publications. We will contact you to indicate if your proposal has been accepted, i.e. expands the mix of contributions to the topic during the gathering. Participants will be accepted until DesignCity:Berlin fills. Apply early, it’s a small group of only 24 in Berlin for the DesignCity inquiry.